Thus far, the 2013 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature has been a mixed bag for public education. While some anti-reform proposals have been either killed in committee or amended, a number of troubling bills have moved forward with surprisingly little resistance. Among the most concerning are HB 160, which would delay the full implementation of the Compass teacher evaluation program for a year, and SB 199, which would carve out a whiter, more affluent school district from the East Baton Rouge School System.

Below are brief updates on selected education bills up for consideration in the 2013 Regular Session:

Bill #

Summary

Update

HB115

Provides for parent petitions relative to the transfer of certain schools from the Recovery School District back to the local school system
  • Amended in committee to exclude Type 5 charter schools, thereby making the bill a non-issue, since the RSD is focused on chartering schools, not running them
  • PASSED the House, 97 to 1; headed to Senate

HB160

Delays implementation of certain teacher evaluation program requirements and requires legislative approval of the value-added teacher assessment model prior to implementation of the requirements
  • Unfortunately PASSED the House, 102 to 0; headed to Senate, where hopefully it will die

HB467

Subjects charter schools to the same State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education rules and regulations as traditional public schools with respect to employment eligibility requirements for teachers and other school employees
  • Unfortunately for Rep. Bel Edwards (but thankfully for public education in Louisiana) this bill DIED in committee

HB540

Repeals provisions of law relative to teacher certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • PASSED the House, 92 to 0; headed for approval in Senate

HB542

Provides relative to charter schools
  • No Action

HB597

Provides for the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program
  • No Action

HB598

Provides relative to performance-based scores and letter grades assigned to public schools and school districts
  • No Action

HB613

Requires the State Bd. of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop and adopt rules and regulations providing for parental choice relative to state standardized testing for public school students
  • No Action

HB618

Provides relative to salary supplements for public school educational diagnosticians
  • PASSED the House, 97 to 0; headed to Senate

HB625

Provides relative to the process for discharging, demoting, or disciplining a permanent public school teacher
  • No Action

HB642

Establishes and provides for the Special Education Scholarship Program
  • Rep. Nancy Landry dropped the bill in the face of overwhelming opposition to it

HB648

Requires the State Bd. of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) to adopt rules requiring high school students to complete at least one course offered by a BESE-authorized online or virtual course provider as a prerequisite to graduation
  • No Action

HB660

Provides for policies, procedures, and programs relative to school prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and instruction regarding the pilgrim fathers and the U.S. flag in certain school districts
  • This proposal has been drastically altered and is now HB 724
  • HB 724 simply provides that students are free to gather to engage in prayer before or after school hours, which is redundant since numerous court decisions have already made clear this is permissible

HB661

Provides relative to charter schools
  • On the docket for consideration by the House Education Committee today (Tuesday, May 7)
  • See background on this bill here

SB22

Constitutional Amendment to prohibit unfunded mandates on political subdivisions or public school systems, with limited exceptions.
  • Withdrawn prior to introduction

SB29

Constitutional Amendment to prohibit unfunded mandates on political subdivisions or public school systems, with limited exceptions.
  • No Action

SB41

Constitutional amendment to require the statewide election of the state superintendent of education.

SB73

Constitutional amendment to grant the Southeast Baton Rouge community school system in East Baton Rouge Parish the same authority granted parishes relative to MFP funding and raising revenue for schools.
  • Part of a package with SB 199, the future of this bill depends on the outcome of its sister bill

SB89

Provides relative to tenure for teachers and certain other school employees.
  • No Action

SB176

Requires certain local public school boards to obtain BESE approval before making certain changes in the status of a failing school.

SB199

Creates and provides for the Southeast Baton Rouge Community School Board and school system in East Baton Rouge Parish.

SB206

Provides for empowered community schools.

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